UPMC seeks dismissal of suit challenging its tax-exempt status

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A week after it transferred a city of Pittsburgh lawsuit challenging its tax-exempt status from state court to federal court, UPMC Friday filed a motion to dismiss the challenge, saying it was premature, unconstitutional and unfounded.

UPMC's 11-page brief continues a war of words that started March 20. That's when Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced that the city was suing its biggest employer, challenging its tax exemption and demanding payment of payroll taxes. UPMC filed its own lawsuit April 19 saying the city was violating its civil rights.

The motion to dismiss called the city's lawsuit "a targeted attack against UPMC" that "deliberately circumvented the entire administrative process required for the assessment and collection of City payroll taxes." It said that the city hasn't provided UPMC with a required written notice of any tax underpayment, nor properly challenged the tax exemption using procedures in state law.

Because the mayor explained his decision to sue UPMC in part by citing its international scope, he has violated the Constitution, the motion said.

"The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution prevents a taxing authority from treating interstate and international nonprofits less favorably than nonprofit entities with solely local beneficiaries," according to the motion.

City solicitor Daniel Regan said the city may seek to move the case back to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court because he doesn't believe it involves constitutional questions.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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